The conservative pundits are trying to frame this debate along the lines that the deficit and debt of the United States was created by the liberal, nanny state programs. This is an outright lie they have drummed into the heads of the American people. Unfortunately, some of the pundits are trusted sources of information for millions of people.
The United States currently ranks thirty-fourth(34th) out of the thirty-four(34) members of the OECD in regards to spending on social programs, DEAD LAST.
The amount the United States spends is currently only 7.2% of our gross domestic product on programs that make up our social contract with the American people.
Remember a year ago when the conservative deficit hawks were warning that if the United States doesn’t start looking at our social programs we would end up like Greece?
They told us the reason Greece was in financial trouble was due to their social programs and if we, the United States didn’t want to become like Greece, we needed to cut back on our social expenditures. Well Greece spends 21.3% on social programs, 14.1% more than the United States does. That is a big difference!
Canada currently spends 26% of their GDP on social programs, yet their national debt is very small compared to the United States, it is about 50% of GDP. So is spending on social programs the real problem in America? According to these figures and data, the answer is no. It is a fabricated lie by those who seek to abolish the social contract and the new deal created almost 100 years ago.
Here is other comparisons between the USA and Germany. Currently Germany spends 21% of their GDP on social programs.
Population below 50% of median income
Infant mortality rate
GER: 81% (not as much difference as I thought)
Exports per capita
Industrial sector as part of GDP
There needs to be a real, non political discussion regarding our national debt. If spending on social programs isn’t the problem, it is either a spending problem in other government areas or it is primarily a revenue problem. Unfortunately our politicians do not look at this issue as non-political. At least we know now that the current budget put forward by the Republicans is really an ideological budget rather than a problem solving budget.
The bottom line is our social safety net is not part of the overall spending problem and that needs to be part of the debate and told to the American public.
Update: I used some information that has since been corrected on the original site, Business Insider. It turns out that the United States spends 16.2% of our GDP on social programs, NOT 7.2%.